Shoppers Disappointed Greenburgh Bookstore Closing

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50 percent off signs decorate Greenburgh's Barnes & Noble after last week's announcement the store will close May 6. Photo Credit: Matt Bultman

GREENBURGH, N.Y. – Disappointed shoppers browsed Greenburgh Barnes & Noble's shelves this weekend, just a few days after learning the store would close its doors early next month.

Barnes & Noble has confirmed it will shutter the 431 Tarrytown Road location May 6, an announcement that came as a surprise to many customers.  

“It’s a shame,” Steve Tarantino said as he thumbed through a rack of magazines and books marked 50 percent off. “This is a nice bookstore. It’s a good location.”

Sharon Honegger said she visited the store at least a couple times a month.

“I hate to see it go,” Honegger said. “There’s nowhere to get a book now.”

A company spokesperson has said the Crossroads Shopping Center bookstore will be forced to close after the company could not agree to a lease extension with the property owner.

White Plains resident Eileen Klein said she has been visiting the store for years and wished it had been able to stay open. The former teacher said there seems to be an unfortunate trend of bookstores shutting their doors with the rise of e-books and Amazon Kindles.

“It’s always disappointing to see a local store go,” Klein said. “Especially a bookstore.”

According to David Deason, vice president of development for Barnes & Noble, the chain is not currently looking to replace the shuttered store.

“We have stores in White Plains and Yonkers,” Deason said in an email. “Both of these are close to the Greenburgh store and we invite customers to shop at these stores.”

While the White Plains location is just a few miles away, Honegger said she would not be making the trip to the City Center bookstore.

“You have to pay to park there,” Honegger said. “I won’t go where you have to pay to park.”

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Comments (7)

Sonnyboy:

Keep in mind that the internet and businesses like Amazon plays a large roll in all of this. I can purchase a book online and in some some cases get free shipping and no sales tax. Unfortunately it is the way of the future. Internet sales continue to grow. One of the two Best Buys in the area will next.

Greenburghmomof2:

I'm sorry to hear this as well. Is this just another one bites the dust? This is terrible for our community and it seems like no oneis doing anything to stop it. First A and P, then Barnes and Noble.

halmarc45:

Thank you STARRY NIGHT.
However MIZTEE, you need to rethink the role of private, for-profit investment in what you call "your neighborhood". I can only hope that your "there's more to say" had intended to include the following.

Guess what, stores like BN, are as much your neighbors as someone who lives next door, either in the house next door or as a resident of an apartment complex. Meanwhile the collection of rents that stores pay to their landlord is not pure profit to the landlord -- it consists of components like the cost of construction, the acquisition of the underlying land AND the rising real estate taxes upon this land and its improvements (buildings). Furthermore commercial real estate is taxed at higher rates than residential. So, if anyone else is affected by rising taxes, it is the owners of commercial real estate.

Contrary to the song lyric "This land is your land, this land is my land..." land today belongs to those who paid for it. In the current example, the Crossroads Shopping Center, the owners expect to make a return on their invested money at risk -- a risk which involves many millions of dollars. Owners of a shopping center lose money when individual stores are vacant. On rare occasions, an owner will keep a store vacant to increase a store's available space when an adjacent store is doing poorly or its lease is expiring. In these situations, the owner feels that from offering a larger store (combining several stores) will result in a better tenant for his bottom line and often also for the good of the other tenants in the shopping center who feed off the customer drawing power of the more recognized names which become destinations through their advertising. The "community" has no say in the choice of tenants and should not feel that it does. The "community" neither pays the rent for unsuccessful stores nor pays the property taxes of the shopping center. Perhaps the leasing (with its risks and rewards) should be left to those who have "skin" at risk. The "community" however does have a limited vote in matters and that vote is whether or not to shop (meaning spend dollars) in the stores that are the shopping center tenants. If you don't buy from these stores, they will no longer be your neighbors; the BN store is such a case.
One more point about leases. New leases to a new tenant include in the agreed upon rent an amount to pay the new store's pro rata share of existing real estate taxes (levied against the entire shopping center?. However since real estate taxes are known to go up, commercial leases include step-ups over the life of the lease, be the life 5, 10 or 20 years. The step-ups consist not only of increases in the base rent (rent at signing) but also provisions to deal with rising expenses such as real estate taxes which are handled in the following manner: The year of signing being the base (starting) tax year, the individual store's pro-rata share of the Shopping Center's tax increases in the years remaining on the lease, i.e. 6% of the Center's tax increase (the store already paying its starting share since it was included in the original base rent). Thus, renewals of leases will still follow the original base year while brand new leases will incorporate the new tax base year of the new lease signing. This in turn means that NEW tenants seeking new leases will likely be paying higher rent (higher prices per square foot) because new rent represents the store's pro rata share of higher property taxes.

Why am I taking the time to explain this, complicated as it may be? Because the real villain behind local vacancies is not only the economy as Paul Feiner, Greenburgh Town Suoervisor would have you believe when he bemoans that vacant stores do not present Greenburgh in a favorable light. Instead, it is Mr. Feiner's mismanagement of the Town and its resources that results in rising taxes which, in turn, makes it harder for residents, like yourself, to afford these taxes and makes it harder for stores to stay in business faced with not only lower sales (the economy, unemployment) BUT ALSO higher costs of doing business. Especially costs that are not under the store's control. A store can choose to reduce its payroll and provide fewer services but a store cannot reduce its burden of paying real estate taxes.
And understanding this is why you should be pointing the figure directly at Feiner and insist that he takes step to reduce the Town's overhead. Painful as they may be; painful as it may curtail many paid services for the Fairview community but it is time to recognize a lasting principle of economics: there is no free lunch. If you vote for Feiner because he panders to the community and its voters, recognize that these programs cost money and that you are paying for this in your rising taxes joined by the taxes paid by residents who don't live nearby or benefit from these services. But in addition to your personal share of rising taxes, know too that the stores too are paying for these services and programs -- often getting little in the way of benefits back. When the taxes become too costly and there are not enough sales to offset rising expenses, the stores close. In addition to "no free lunch" there is another applicable old saying (not so economics rooted): "you can't have your cake and eat it too". If you choose not to bite the finger that feeds you; don't cry when favorite stores are forced to shutter.
Still at a loss for words?

starry night:

"shoppers?" apparently not or too few at the now closing B&N. As halmarc45 correctly notes, visitors do not pay the bills.The era of retail as we knew it is eclipsing along with the tax base these strip malls produced. Its time to stop thinking of these places as "retail" - other uses have to be envisioned. In fact, we have too many stores and too many of these unsightly malls which have indeed mauled the environment. time to think about tearing these places down and rebuild as walkable communities among other things.

miztee717:

This really should not be happening and it's a shame. This area of Greenburgh NEEDS a major bookseller such as Barnes & Noble; it has become a fixture here in our neighborhood. First we lose a major supermarket and now B&N is out. I've also heard rumors that KMart is next on the chopping block. Is ANYONE at Greenburgh Town Hall concerned about the citizens who LIVE here, shop here, pay taxes and frequent this shopping area as a necessity?? The property owner(s) of Crossroads should really consider the adverse affect on the neighborhood with the absense of these businesses. Our property values are going down and yet the taxes remain sky high and continue to go up. There's more to say but I'm at a loss for words...smh w/ a tear.

GDub:

This is very sad news! I never understood the model of encouraging people to sit comfortably and read for long periods of time at bookstores. There were always more people lingering in this store's magazine section than there were at the registers.

But overall, what is going on at the Crossroads Shopping Center? So many empty storefronts. I always wonder how the Kohl's Shopping Center in Port Chester (has some similar stores, but better anchors) maintains a full house, while Crossroads seems to have trouble keeping the stores it has. I thought HomeGoods would revitalize ut, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

halmarc45:

And you better hurry to those Barnes & Noble stores in White Plains and Yonkers because they're likely to be vacant when the remaining sand in the clock runs out on Barnes & Noble. Mismanagement, competition from discounters like Target and Costco have had slaughtered BN just like BN slaughtered independent booksellers in every market it has entered.

It's been years since you heard the BN war cry: "if you paid full price you didn't buy it at Barnes & Noble".

Once it killed off the competition, BN then upped their own prices to full price unless you paid them $25 for the privilege of getting 10% off in-store. Stores that ask their customers for upfront money to pay 10% less seldom maintain brand loyalty.

E books? BN is betting the ranch on this following in the footsteps of Border's with its e-reader debacle. Face it, E books online are beating the pants off bricks and mortar stores and BN's grasping at straws named Nook is no exception. The iPad and the Kindle will continue the battle and when the fighting gets tough the tough will unveil what's waiting in the wings -- the planned obsolescence bombshell -- the iPad/Kindle with phone. But by then there will be another 600 for rent signs appearing in windows of former BN stores.

Does anyone really think that the shopping center owner is on purpose collecting non-contiguous vacant stores and did all it could to kiss BN goodbye? BN is going, going gone and happy to be saying goodbye without having to pay to break its lease.

As for customers who "visit" stores: rent, light bills, salaries and inventory don't get paid from visits. Rather it's what is rung up at the register that determines the location's viability. Maybe having a free library within walking distance also is evidence of "hearing a discouraging word".

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